The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Paradise is the home to peace, prosperity, and happiness for its entire people. This style of living is the dream of many who wish to escape a life that includes suffering and hardship. There are those who would give up anything for a chance to live in paradise, but what is the right price for living in paradise?

I personally felt disgusted while reading this story and it was aimed more towards the people who cherished “the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science” (p6).  All of this at the expense of a suffering child, with no friends, no family, no true home except for “a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door, and no window” (p4). Sure there is a common belief that the needs of the many outweigh the need of the one but what at what cost should this be taken literal. Here we have a child who has no determined gender, age, and no apparent memory of its condition. The people of Omelas know why this child lives in such a hell, “They all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery” (p5). These people remain content at the scale of this exchange.

The ones who walk away from Omelas, I feel, are the just ones they know that paradise is not worth the lifelong suffering of a poor child. They would rather return back to the outside world and endure equal suffering than let a child suffer alone for one more day.

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